See Manatees at Walt Disney Resort!

A Florida Manatee (West Indian manatee) enjoying some lettuce at Disney’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion located in Orlando, Florida.

A Note on COVID 19 – Walt Disney World Resort has plans to welcome guests back to its theme parks as part of a “phased reopening beginning July 11, 2020” pending state approval.  

Greetings! Did you know there are manatees living at Walt Disney World Resort? Absolutely! And the very cool thing about this, you can get to see them up close! Currently, there are 3 species of manatee living in the world: the West Indian manatee (Florida manatee & Antillean manatee), the West African manatee, and the Amazonian manatee.

It is the unique and rare Florida manatee (my marine mammal family), which you can discover after riding The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction, at Disney World’s Epcot Center.

Uncover Rare and Threatened Manatees at Epcot!

When you visit the manatees at Epcot, Walt Disney World is caring for them and helping them recover so they can be released back into the wild. Did you know…

All of us manatees are very slow moving, curious, marine mammals spending the majority of our time eating a nice vegetarian diet, resting, and traveling. In general, we manatees are rather shy. And another cool fact is that we manatees can actually tell the sizes of different objects. In fact, we have been known to respond to visual motion and cues from objects up to 115 feet away!

As for our hearing, we manatees have very large ear bones which gives us an apparently good range of sound frequencies. In general, we manatees are very good at hearing high frequencies and not nearly as good at hearing low frequencies, which are usually associated with boat noise. This most likely explains why so many manatees are injured or killed in watercraft collisions each year. However, some good news here is that manatees most likely can hear the approach of propellers on boats, which have slowed down due to boat speed regulations in manatee zones.

Manatees can communicate!

We create sounds that can be best described as chirps, whistles or squeaks. The cow (female manatee) and her calf do a good amount of communicating. In fact, the cow can hear its calf’s squeals and calls from up to 200 feet away!

It’s Time to Eat, Eat, and Eat Some More!

Looking at the manatee diet, all of us manatees are herbivores (plant eaters). And we are usually very hungry. Why? Because manatees eat 10% to 15% of our bodyweight every day!  That means a 1,000-pound manatee will eat between 100 to 150 pounds of plants each day. So when you visit the Florida manatees at Epcot, don’t be surprised to see lettuce floating around in our aquarium! Additionally, our diet consists of submerged seagrass beds and also freshwater vegetation.

The most common seagrass in the manatee diet includes; manatee grass, turtle grass, shoal grass and widgeon grass.  And the most common freshwater vegetation for the manatee diet includes; tapegrass, eelgrass, hydrilla, water lettuce, and water hyacinth.

Manatees in the Wild
West Indian manatees love to travel! Since we are warm-blooded, we need water temperatures of at least 72 degrees Fahrenheit. So, in the summer months, it is common to see some of us travel up the East Coast of the United States or westward out to Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. On rare occasions, one (yours truly) or two manatees even made it up to Cape Cod, Massachusetts!  As for my cousins, the Antillean manatees, they enjoy exploring the east coast of Central America, South America, the Greater Antilles, and The Bahamas.

Stay tuned for my future blog about Manatees at Epcot!

Here’s a link to Walt Disney World …

If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.

Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …

Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …

~ Kobee Manatee